Psychiatry’s 12-Step Program for Producing Heroin Addicts


I previously traced how society’s acceptance of sadness as a “brain disease” since 1990 led to a spike in the number of chronically depressed adults, many of whom were then led into opioid pill addiction by doctors who capitalized on their vulnerability; this fed the opioid pill overdose crisis that also began in 1990. But even though this made it easy for youths to find opioid pills in their parents’ purse or medicine cabinet since the 1990s, heroin overdosing (which is mainly by youths who first tried opioid pills) did not start to rise until much later (2006), despite heroin having been around since the ‘60s. I believe this is because today’s heroin addicts are a new breed — the seeds of their creation were sown in 1990, when doctors’ lies about normal childhood immaturity being a genetic “brain illness” became accepted. This enabled psychiatry to begin its cradle-to-(early)-grave 12-step program for producing heroin addicts:

1. Wrongly proclaim that children are genetically hard-wired to mature, so parents undervalue the key role of child-rearing, and thus put less into it.

2. Mislabel normally inattentive, impulsive, moody kids as permanently disabled by “brain disease” (ADHD or bipolar) and advise parents that it would thus be fruitless to try to raise them normally, since they’re ‘unraisable.’

3. Instead, advise parents and schools to helicopter parent/teach them, so they never learn how to initiate, plan, and carry out tasks on their own.

4. Advise that the challenges and expectations of these children be greatly reduced, so that they will be unprepared for the tough pressures/demands of adulthood.

5. Advise that parents not set limits or punish bad behaviors, so that these kids don’t have to learn how to manage their impulses/rages, and thus never learn self-discipline.

6. Advise kids and their parents to not explore/discuss/address whatever issues are upsetting them (by claiming that there are none), so they can’t learn how to cope effectively, or how to develop close relationships.

7. Reinforce irresponsibility, incapability, and wildness by rescuing them when they find trouble, giving easy A’s, and other victim status rewards.

8. Replace solid upbringings with daily “tranquilizer darts” so that the only coping tool children ever do learn is how to numb their minds with chemicals.

9. Replace solid educations with Individualized Educational Programs and coddling accommodations, to give illusions of success that did not occur.

10. Capitalize on their resulting recklessness/vulnerability as youths, by luring them into addiction via euphoria-giving gateway drugs like Adderall.

11. Nourish their addiction by encouraging them to deny it, declaring: “You are not an addict, since it was doctor-prescribed to treat your illness.”

12. If they do accept their addiction and wish to work on learning the tools needed for sobriety, lure them away from this by offering even more addictive pills to “treat” their addiction, but which more often enable it, like Suboxone.

Via these steps, psychiatry plants the seeds of budding addiction early in life, and then continually nourishes them into adulthood. Psychiatry’s and AA’s 12 step programs are similar in that a main tenet of each program is to surrender power to a more “trustworthy” authority. Psychiatry’s authority just happens to be psychiatry and its addictive drugs. In AA, you temporarily cannot trust yourself since drugs are controlling you, so it teaches you the tools needed to responsibly cope. But in psychiatry, you’re taught to never trust yourself since “bad genes” control you, so you need to permanently hand over responsibility for coping to psychiatrists and their drugs. It’s thus not surprising that a meta- analysis found ADHD-labeled kids turn to illicit drugs nearly 3 times as often as non-labeled kids1, whether or not they are on meds2. Psychiatry has taken over the “raising” of children, and has more recently added the “treatment” of addiction to its ever-growing domain, with disastrous results.

Here are some statistics that, taken together, support my argument that psychiatry is the root cause of our heroin epidemic: There was a six-fold rise in stimulant prescribing for ADHD from 1991 to 20003. The average age of initial ADHD diagnosis is 7, so it takes them 15 years to reach 22 (the average heroin user’s age). This explains the 15-years-later six-fold rise in heroin overdoses from 2006-2015, after being stable the prior ten years45. Kurt Cobain wasn’t just ahead of his time musically, but also in following this path.

The nations with the top four per capita ADHD-labeling rates67 are the top four per capita overdosing nations, in the same order8. Nations where ADHD is least diagnosed9 have the lowest overdose rates. States with the highest per capita overdose rates10 have very high per capita ADHD-labeling rates11. The ratio of per capita ADHD-labeling of whites:blacks:hispanics (19:10:4)12 is virtually identical to the per capita overdosing ratio among these ethnicities (19:10:6). This overdose ratio had been nearly equal before the first batch of ADHD-labeled kids first reached adulthood; whites had actually been in second place13. The ratio of male to female ADHD-‘treated’ teenagers was about 3:1 in 200314 — at that time, the male:female heroin overdose ratio was also 3:1. Now they are both 2.2:115.

These all fit too perfectly together, like jigsaw puzzle pieces, to be coincidental. Along with ADHD-‘treated’ clients suiciding 5-10 times as often1617 and dying in motor vehicle accidents over twice as often18 (which is likely a major reason why both of these are also rising lately), this suggests that parents should not let their kids be labeled ADHD if they want them to reach old age. So in order to eradicate all of today’s deadly American epidemics, their common underlying source must be eradicated. It is biological psychiatry — the modern way to get high and die in the USA.

Show 18 footnotes

  1. “Prospective Association of Childhood ADHD and Substance Abuse and Abuse/Dependence; a Meta-Analytic Review” Lee, S, et al, Clin Psych Review, 2011, 31, 328-41.
  2. “Stimulant Medication and Substance Abuse Outcomes,” Lee, S, et al, JAMA Psych, 2013, 70(7)740-9.
  3. IMS Health National Prescription Audit Plus
  4. “Today’s Heroin Infographics” CDC Vital Signs, July 2015
  5. “Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths; United States 2010-2015” CDC Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report, Dec 30, 2016, 65(50-51)1445-52.
  6. “Use of ADHD Drugs in the Nordic Countries; A Population-Based Study” Zoega, H, et al, Acta Psych Scand, May 2011, 123(5)360-70.
  7. “The Global Market for ADHD Medication” Scheffler, R, et al, Health Affairs, Mar 2007, 26(2)450-7.
  8. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2014 Annual Report Questionnaire
  9. “International Variation in Treatment Procedures for ADHD” Hinshaw, S, et al, Psych Services May 2011, 62(5)459-64.
  10. “Trends in the Parent-Report of Health Care Provider-Diagnosed and Medicated ADHD United States, 2003-2011” Visser, S, et al, J Amer Acad Child Adol Psychiatry, Jan 2014, 53(1)34-46.
  11. “Drug Overdose Death Data, by State” CDC, 2015
  12. “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment” Coker, T, et al, Peds, Sep 2016(138)3.
  13. “Drug Poisoning Mortality in the United States 1999-2014, Age-Adjusted Death Rates, All Ages, Both Sexes” CDC, NCHS, Jan 19, 2016.
  14. “Mental Health in the U.S.: Prevalence of Diagnosis and Medication Treatment for ADHD, 2003” CDC, Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report, Sep 2, 2005, 54(34)842-7.
  15. “Report: Turning Attention to ADHD” Express Scripts, Mar 12, 2014.
  16. “Mortality, ADHD, and Psychosocial Adversity in Adults with Childhood ADHD” Barbaresi, W, et al, Peds, Apr 2013, 131(4)637-44.
  17. “Common Etiological Factors of ADHD and Suicidal Behavior” Ljung, T, et al, JAMA Psych, Aug 2014, 71(8)958-64.
  18. “Serious Transport Accidents in Adults with ADHD and the Effects of Medication” Zheng, C, et al, JAMA Psych, 2014, 71(3)319-25.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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Lawrence Kelmenson, MD
Lawrence Kelmenson has practiced psychiatry for 32 years, working with children, adults, and families. He graduated medical school from State University of New York, and completed psychiatric residency training at Cornell. He then became staff psychiatrist, and later medical director, of Craig House Hospital in Beacon, New York until 2000, and has since conducted a psychotherapy-based private practice in Cold Spring, New York. 


  1. The good doctor’s concepts may need some reviewing, though he presents an interesting idea. Perhaps he could review literature from the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, when many of the acid heads and speed freaks of those days became junkies after an initial period of stimulant and hallucinogen use. The “uppers” left them disperceptive (what DSM docs would call schizophrenic now) and feeling weird, which they tried to cure with smack (which reduces the intensity of distorted perceptions) with the usual result being a “jones” (as a deep addiction was known in those days).

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    • Perhaps so regarding speed, but this is not at all right about acid, which is profoundly anti-addictive. Bill Wilson, the founder of AA, wanted to make LSD a part of their recovery program but his board, probably rightly, felt it was a bad idea politically. Recent research in Scandinavia has found lifetime use of psychedelics negatively correlated with mental health issues. And so on…

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      • Daniel:
        This comment is a response to your response to my “illify” idea. If “illify” does not sound good, maybe “disabilify”? This both suggests that psychiatry harms/disables people, while making fun of how psychiatric meds do the opposite of what they claim to do. And when you talk about psychiatrists maybe having good intentions when prescribing antidepressants, they are fully aware that the claim of their correcting underlying chemical imbalances is a myth, yet say that they do anyway, in order to sell them. They even say obvious lies such as “you need medicine for your illness just as diabetics need insulin for theirs”.

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        • Lawrence,

          I hope I was not unduly pessimistic about “illify”! Always hard to know what will fly, semantically. It doesn’t quite have a ring for me that has legs on it, but we certainly need to work all this and see what sticks and what works. On doctor motives, I’m pretty sure the psychologist who recommended SSRIs for me was well intentioned and did not profit from it, but rather was carried away by the idea of technical wizardry and a fix for troubles he did not know how to work with otherwise. But perhaps I’m being naive? It would be really interesting to see a careful study of such people and how they come to recommend the drugs. Lastly, on the Development Dictionary, that’s one title in a large literature on the topic. Having done a lot of work in that field (environment and development) I’ve been really struck by the similarities to. psychiatry. If you or anyone else is interested I could suggest more, and have wondered for some time if some collaborative writing on this might be helpful and interesting. Thanks again for your excellent and thought provoking piece!

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      • This might be because Bill had not only taken acid, himself, but was a buddy of both Humphry Osmond and Abram Hoffer, early pioneers in psychedelic therapy for alcoholism and mega niacin therapy for alcohol withdrawal and depression in recovering alcoholics.

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  2. Prescription drug culture and illicit drug culture have a lot in common. “Mental illnesses” are not real illnesses, and psychiatric drugs are not medicinal. The standard treatment for “mental illness” is drug addiction which in turn is confused with “mental illness”. That doctor prescribed speed can lead to illicit drug use should come as a surprise to nobody. Industrious ADHD labelees know, ADHD drugs are a big hit on campus as “learning enhancers”. The recent rise in synthetic opioids is very problematic, for which I blame over zealous medical doctors, who should have known better. Mix benzos and opioids, and what do you get? All too often it’s a cadaver.

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  3. I think you make an important point about ADHD children becoming comfortable with taking drugs early in life because their parents handed parenting over to psychiatrists and drugs. It becomes natural to these kids to take a pill to sooth all of life’s troubles later on. This can well lead to addiction to amphetamines or other drugs in young adulthood. I wasn’t aware that doctors prescribed opioids for patients with depression in the 1990’s. That is shocking information that might well have the consequences that you describe.

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    • Marilyn:
      Thank you for responding. People in psychiatric “treatment” comprise only 16% of our population, yet use over half of all prescribed opiates. So psychiatric “treatment” of depression and psychiatric creation/”treatment” of “ADHD” are the underlying root causes of America’s opioid/heroin crises; Yet nobody beyond this website seems to consider this – In fact, the opposite approach is pushed, that “mental illness” needs to be more aggressively “treated”, starting at earlier ages, in order to curb America’s worsening addictions. How can we bring to the public’s attention that they are being told the opposite of the truth?

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  4. Great article Lawrence, thank you! You show clearly how heroin and opiate use and abuse/deaths is increased by our child rearing culture that’s been hijacked by the psychiatric disease model of human behavior.
    In my recent article titled- “Why do parents give amphetamines and other risky psychiatric drugs to the children they love?” I recount a parent telling me of a child psychiatrist at a large HMO pulling out a plastic model of a brain to show her and her 5 year old child, by pointing to where the child’s “brain isn’t working right” and then saying Adderal would correct that brain defect.
    I do therapy with such parents and children and teens to address emotional distress that psychiatry views as evidence of disease.
    My other recent MIA article- “Do Psychiatrists harm their patents out of stupidity?” addresses the underlying problem of psychiatry as a human rights abusing, failed medical specialty that’s based on false premises that have no basis in scientific fact.
    Best wishes,
    Michael Cornwall PhD

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    • I think it just comes down to self-interest. I get called by recruiters about once a week, who try to entice me with offers of making over three times as much money as I earn now as a private-practice therapist, if I were to take a job as “medication manager”, in which I would see five times as many clients daily as I do now. And psychiatry has painted itself into a corner, in which the only outpatient or inpatient jobs available to psychiatrists are as medication managers, anyway. But it is not just psychiatrists that benefit. Pediatricians who have waiting-rooms full of monthly 5-minute ADHD medication checkups that continue through childhood, are earning much more, as are general practitioners who prescribe antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and amphetamines (and opiates). Nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants are cashing in too. One of the biggest scams that psychiatrists have created, is handing out monthly suboxone prescriptions which enable heroin use by minimizing withdrawals until their next fix, or help them earn extra money for heroin by selling the suboxone on the street (where it creates more addicts), or make it easy for drug-seeking teens and young adults to legally score opioids if they are finding it hard to get them from pain doctors. They earn so much from assembly-lines of 5-minute suboxone clients, that even highly-paid doctors like anesthesiologists are getting in on the gravy train in order to increase their incomes. 12.5 million suboxone-type prescriptions are filled yearly, and healthcare and our government are calling for it to be used much more.

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      • Lawrence I believe the self interest factor is very big, but the dozens of psychiatrists I worked alongside everyday for almost 30 years also really believed in the disease model of human emotinal suffering they had been taught and that’s daily reinforced by the APA, NIMH and drug companies.
        That HMO child psychiatrist who recently held up the plastic brain model to show the child and mother where the child’s so-called ADHD brain was malfunctioning actually believed that lie!
        It’s more than cognitive dissonance at work that creates that false self serving narrative that psychiatrists tell themselves. I believe it is a form of stupidity as it’s defined- “behavior based on a lack of good sense and judgement.”
        Psychiatrists have been trained and brainwashed to believe that it’s actually possible that an 2-3 year old toddler’s brain is diseased without any medical test to prove it, and so they diagnose them with ADHD or bipolar and give them psych meds.
        That big lie about brain disease is at the heart of neuro-biological psychiatry’s Orwellian existence, and is the supportive foundation for the self interest that follows from it in my view.

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        • Michael:
          Perhaps you are giving more credit to human nature than is deserved. Throughout history, man has committed cruel, horrible acts in mass numbers, as long as there was power and the ability to get away with it without consequences, and especially if there were great rewards. And we are taught in medical school that psychiatry only treats problems that are not physical.

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          • Lawrence

            This is also a very one-sided (and unscientific) description of human nature, and tends to correspond to human nature as shaped by capitalist culture (in this historical era) – that is, “look out for number one and stab the person in the back to get ahead” etc.

            Human nature is a very malleable part of the human species. Human beings are “social beings” with the capacity to think rationally about what is in their best interests as a species.

            Humans are (and can) learn over time that cooperation and the institutions and social organizations that promote cooperation will serve its interests and overall survival as a species, MUCH BETTER than resorting to individual and/or selfish behaviors and/or creating those institution and forms of social organization that promote power differentials and gross inequalities on the entire planet.


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          • The medical schools are doing neither their graduates, nor the graduates’ patients any good with this notion of only treating non-physical problems, considering how many physical problems have psychiatric consequences.

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      • Lawrence

        You said in a prior comment: “One of the biggest scams that psychiatrists have created, is handing out monthly suboxone prescriptions which enable heroin use by minimizing withdrawals until their next fix, or help them earn extra money for heroin by selling the suboxone on the street (where it creates more addicts), or make it easy for drug-seeking teens and young adults to legally score opioids if they are finding it hard to get them from pain doctors. They earn so much from assembly-lines of 5-minute suboxone clients, that even highly-paid doctors like anesthesiologists are getting in on the gravy train in order to increase their incomes. 12.5 million suboxone-type prescriptions are filled yearly, and healthcare and our government are calling for it to be used much more. ”

        I couldn’t have said this any better. This deserves an entire blog in and of itself
        You might want to check out my past blog on a similar topic.


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  5. It seems remiss not to include all psychiatric drugs in this because they all teach the same thing: 1.) pills will fix what’s wrong with you (because your brain is broken) and, 2.) psychiatry is your “God” so be compliant and submissive because they’re always right. You have no internal ability to judge for yourself. And these are just a few of the lessons.
    This systemic involvement in all areas of life has a paper and money trail. The corruption has to be largely supported by the powers that be to reach the extent it has. And all I hear these days is more money for “mental health” which is more money for a profession who can lay claim to nothing scientific but now tries to pull genetics and neurology into proving it’s legitimacy.
    If one looks at the recent suggestion of using MDMA for depression and other “mental illnesses” we see a new and bolder move to publicly proclaim that known addictive substances can be administered by psychiatry and produce miraculous results (like Prozac did). Are people not paying attention or are they so brainwashed that they can’t see what’s happening?

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    • Actually MDMA would be a great help for people suffering from PTSD. What I hate is when the therapeutic community, and other scientists studying MDMA and psychedelics for ‘mental illness’ is how they CONTAIN these substances within the psychiatric terms which further the ongoing delusion OF the mental illness myth: Medicalization. IE they promote MDMA and psychedelics as glorified psychiatric drugs. One recent media artile asked the limiting question ‘Is LSD the new Prozac?’

      In stead there should be straightaway exposing the mental illness myth, and from there understanding that substances which inspire emotional expression, and ecstasy, can be very healing on a deep level. But this will mean them defying the establishment they are part of, and that will take courage and integrity, AND the stopping of funds. But it has to be done!

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      • Apropos of this, MDMA research last week received fast-track status from the FDA because Phase II trials are finding about a 2/3 rate of essentially “cure” for severe, treatment-resistant PTSD. (Participant have, I believe, all already tried at least two treatment modes with no results.). From my own experience and also looking into that work, it appears to be very signifiant, but not because it works in any way the same as current prescription drugs from the drug companies. MDMA certainly can be abused, and if so can be harmful, but it tends strongly to be anti-addictive rather than addictive, in the sense that it helps markedly to heal trauma and so reduce or remove addictive impulses (where are essentially an attempt to mask or heal trauma, to fill that gaping and painful hole at the center of one’s being). I agree that it’s unfortunate that psychedelics (and MDMA is a…sort of…psychedelic) are being, or have to be, treated this way, as a formally researched and prescribed drug, but there is also the “nose camel’s nose under the tent” theory, i.e., this may be the best or even only path to destigmatizing these substances and eventually decriminalizing them.

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  6. Thank you, Dr. Kelmenson, for a great article. I appreciate your integrity in a world lately that seems to be increasingly lacking of this virtue. This is big business and big money for MDs. In the city near me a psychiatrist well-known for his overprescribing, get ’em and out 15 min. session for $300 just bought a building for over 4 million dollars. I saw one of his patients in the hospital, she was on a truckload of psychiatric drugs, no therapy, just drugged. Her partner is dying of cancer. I talked to her for awhile and gave her a hug, not something I usually do but she was hurting so badly. She said my psychiatrist does not even ask me what is going on in my life and has no idea. She feels rushed by him in session with his quick “How are you doing?”. I gave her other resources, Board of Medicine complaint and wrote a scathing review online about the MD. I feel so helpless watching so vulnerable people being abused by “medical professionals” who care more about their own wallets than the health and well-being of others.

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  7. This is an incredible piece of work, sir. Thank you so much. I’m sure that SAMHSA is going to sit up and pay very close attention to this. We who write for MIA may feel at times that we’re screaming in a vacuum. We are, however, the heart of the loyal opposition itself, and in reality, I’m sure that whatever appears on this site is very closely attended to by all of the powers that be, from Big Pharma to Washington, and you just fired the shot that starts the Civil War. Congratulations on your fine work.

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  8. Being an inpatient psychiatrist RN in the 80’s, with children and adolescents. 30 years later definitely believe, a huge percentage of what appears to be ADD / ADHD, is actually “family dysfunction” and history of abuse, including sexual, physical, emotional, and spiritual.
    Any kid put in these situations would respond with ADHD/ADD symptoms. And yes, we gave “pills” to correct, because it was easy, quick, fix. And actually it became “mandatory by the insurance companies” to BE ON MEDICATION. Hospital and psychiatrists were told by the insurance companies, if they aren’t bad enough to be on medication, they don’t need hospitalized”.
    Pitiful of America ~ these families need intensive, long term, family therapies (however, that was too expensive). I’m a witness to this. Why I left inpatient Child, Adolescent psychiatry.

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    • Was it too expensive? Or was it just a hassle?

      I know that I have been put on drugs that cost, most of the time, about $2,000 a month. I am at present given a shot every month (against my will) that costs about that. So my question is: is it really that it’s too expensive to pay for therapy? I don’t think it is, when you consider what they pay now for me to be drugged. What I think is that the money simply isn’t supplied for THAT specific form of “treatment.” The drug companies get every penny they want. People who actually help other people are, on the other hand, starved of any funds. What do you think?

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    • Janet I recall that. I wanted to get “treatment” for my eating disorder in 1982. I didn’t get it so I got desperate. They were avoidant, claiming I was “faking it for attention.”

      So finally I showed up at the hospital ER early in 1983, hoping for actual help. My roommate was right. She had said, “If you show up at the ER, they HAVE to treat you.” Well, yes. They took me. But they failed to address my eating disorder…

      …for the next thirty years!!!!!


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  9. Lawrence

    Overall a very good blog that raises some very important points about the role of Psychiatry in the poly-drug overdose crisis.

    It is very strong in drawing the connections between Biological Psychiatry’s “genetic theories of original sin” and the DSM diagnosing of children as a major causative factor.

    Some weaknesses were the narrowing of the focus to psychiatry’s role to the exclusion of Big Pharma and their profit bonanza with their massive campaigns in selling opiate drugs. In particular, the role of Purdue Pharmaceuticals and their launching of oxycontin in the mid 1990’s with their 5th Vital Sign Campaign and the resulting proliferation of pain clinics throughout the nation.

    Also, it is important to expose how the epic rise in benzodiazepine prescriptions parallels the corresponding rise in opiate prescriptions during the past 20 years. AND benzos are likely to be THE primary lethal agent in the drug cocktails in the poly-drug overdoses (involving opiates) that ultimately lead to death. AND of course, Psychiatry is intimately involved in the epidemic of benzo prescriptions which are now about 100 million per year – mostly long term prescriptions.

    On the issue of psychiatric drugs being “addictive,” I believe it is far more accurate and scientific to use the term “dependency” and/or “dependency producing” when describing these drugs. Please read J.Doe’s blog on benzodiazepines which is a great breakdown of the vital difference between the terms “addiction” and “dependency.”

    And finally, it is important to constantly point out the role of Biological Psychiatry’s paradigm of “treatment” and entire “mental health” system as an apparatus of social control in an increasingly volatile society amidst a dying Imperialist empire.

    Keep writing.


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    • Richard:
      I read J. Doe’s blog on benzodiazepines, and here is my take on the addiction/dependency issue: When I was in medical school, the backbone for a drug addiction diagnosis was physiological dependence (tolerance and withdrawal symptoms), since doctors had not yet gotten heavily into addictive drug-dealing. As time went by, drug-seeking behavior became the more important criterion, because as doctors got more into drug-dealing, they needed to differentiate themselves from their illegal competitors who were selling the exact same addictive drugs, and the main difference/advantage of drug-dealing doctors over street dealers was the easy, legal, cheap, endless availability of drugs from doctors – no drug-seeking behavior was needed. In the latest DSM, dependence (tolerance/withdrawals) are not even allowed to be considered criteria for a substance use disorder if the addictive drugs were given by a legal dealer (MD), rather than a street dealer.
      These steps were not done to protect clients from negative attitudes. When has the DSM ever been about helping clients? They were done to give the green light to doctors, but no one else, to lure people into being forced to endure never-ending, agonizing withdrawals – They were done to protect and expand the exclusive territorial rights of doctors to deal drugs, and to discourage/prevent people who became dependent on them from trying to come off them. Since now they can’t be diagnosed with substance use disorders, they won’t be able to get admitted to a substance abuse rehab or detox, anyway.
      The same thing goes for addictive drug inserts which say that such drugs can produce dependency but not addiction, and advise speaking to your healthcare provider to find out the difference between the two – This is also a ploy, by which drug companies trick clients into being more willing to allow themselves to become addicted, by making it seem more socially acceptable. To me, it does not matter whether someone was made drug-dependent by a legal dealer’s “medical supervision”, or by an illegal dealer. Either way, the disastrous end results are the same – It will be very hard to avoid overdosing and to come off them, and if you are able to, you will likely feel the urge to use them at some later point, so the 12-step AA or NA or PA (Pills Anonymous) program may help you avoid this.

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      • I have never, ever, had the urge to take any benzo after finally ending my taper. I don’t think many of us with PAWS do. I tried NA for support earlier in my process and I found it to be not helpful: I am not an addict, and I won’t ever confess to being one. It isn’t about stigma, it’s about the language we use, and the terms are important when it comes to helping those with ID from benzo use.

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      • Lawrence

        I am NOT saying that someone could never become “addicted” to a psychiatric drug and/or take them in an “addictive” way – which involves a whole psychological component (self defeating type behavior patterns) as well. Yes, this does occur for some people with drugs like benzos, neurotin, ambien, and even seroquel etc., but this is NOT the dominant trend out there.

        What I am trying to emphasize here (and I believe J.Doe was as well) is that the vast majority of people who take psychiatric drugs AS PRESCRIBED, like a benzo, more often become physiologically (iatrogenically) DEPENDENT on them and suffer iatrogenic damage as a result. This is NOT addiction.

        They should not be called “addicts” and/or labelled as “addicted” or “treated” as if they have an addiction. This will only add to the harm already done and make the recovery from iatrogenic damage more difficult.

        Changing the language we use in these situations is a VITAL part of our overall efforts to defeat Biological Psychiatry and completely dismantle their entire paradigm that controls today’s “mental health” system. To not challenge the use of this language is to let the System get over on us and to reinforce their ideological hold on the masses of people.

        And BTW, 12 Step Programs are completely dominated by a disease based model and they have almost completely surrendered to Biological Psychiatry in their view and practice towards the use of mind altering psychiatric drugs. While these programs may help a small number of people, they do far more harm than good when it comes to people trying to overcome addiction problems.


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        • Not tarring the iatro-dependent with the addict brush is only decent, but there are many who are angry about the extreme difficulties and profound suffering they have to endure when trying to get off a prescribed psych drug,* who want to be called addicts because the derogatory term ‘addict,’ when paired with a drug’s name (‘paroxetine addict,’ e.g.), sends the right message about the drug (even if it’s the wrong message about the person).

          *not to mention finasteride and certain Parkinson’s and epilepsy drugs

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          • Thank you for pointing this out. After a rather awful experience with SSRIs I have tended to want to use “addicted” because it suggests a seriousness and depth of difficulty people understand. As an addiction counselor friend said to me once, “everyone I my business knows that stuff is harder to get off of the heroin, and it’s even worse because there’s no socially acceptable narrative to draw on.” It’s not until I saw your comment here (five years later) that I saw, aha, right!…”addict” comes with a whole other layer of stigma. But then there’s also the new (and I think right) view of addiction as mostly a response to trauma, so not a “weakness” so much as a normal response. So anyway, it’s complicated! But for me, overall, I’d prefer to go with addiction over dependency, just because it suggests a certain magnitude.

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          • Let’s not give in to System language. Giving in WILL NOT get people the help they truly need. We need to forcefully challenge their language and terminology, as part of taking on the whole ideological underpinnings of this oppressive System.

            “Iatrogenic dependence” and “iatrogenic damage” are powerful terms when properly explained. The correct terminology will NOT become understood by broad numbers of people unless WE start using it now.


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          • Thank you Richard, I actually had iatrogenic illness in mind but did not say it, I think now because I had in the back of my mind that I’ve used that term a couple of times and encountered silence, which I’ve taken as either confusion or skepticism. Because THAT one goes directly against the “helpful doctor” narrative. But I think you’re right, it is the most accurate term and probably the best to use. I didn’t HAVE an addiction or BECOME an addict. I was made sick. Which is to say, poisoned.

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        • Richard and Daniel:

          I think you are right that new/different terminology needs to be used to convey what is being done, but I think “iatrogenic illness” won’t work, since most people don’t know what “iatrogenic” means, and it would be better if it was just one word. How about “illification”, since psychiatry makes healthy people ill, or “illifies” them, which is the opposite of healing illness. It is simple and self-evident, and thus needs no explaining. And by coining a new word for it, it connotes that it is something new and different, in that healthy people are intentionally being made ill, whereas most iatrogenic illnesses were accidental/inadvertent complications of real treatment of people who had some real illness. Iatrogenic thus connotes a sense of forgivability since the doctor’s intentions were good, whereas illification holds doctors accountable for their heinous intentions.

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          • This is so interesting. I had not thought about most iatrogenic illness being more accidental. Though I’d think the pharma-industrial complex’s marketing machine is behind a fair amount of that also. No? And I do think there have been a lot of doctors with good intent but lousy insight or high gullibility who’ve pushed SSRIs. I’m not sure illification would fly; it doesn’t have the best ring to it, to my ear. I was illified? (Of course, then it would get confused with abillify!) What about iatrogenic (also awkward, but of course it sounds like SCIENCE, which people love…), which I think is strictly correct, but then more simply: “I was made sick.” Coupling the formal with the vernacular repeatedly might make the meaning of iatrogenic clear…to some. Of course, there’s still “poisoned,” but it’s a little over-dramatic and wouldn’t fly. I think toxic is a good word to get in there when possible. As in, “I was made sick by toxic drugs pushed by negligent physicians and greedy pharmaceutical corporations.” Mostly, I think this is really quite important.

            You know, there’s a wonderful book called “The Development Dictionary,” a series of short essays by many authors, from a critical theory perspective, that parses all the bullshit obfuscatory words in the international development discourse. It’s worth a look. The two projects, int’l development and psychiatry are very similar. You “find,” or better yet, create a “problem,” (always with the best of intentions) cook up solutions that end up benefitting the “helper” and not the “helped” (or target), turn it all into a big government and corporate juggernaut, and then when the solutions fail (i.e., the targets don’t improve the way they’re supposed to), you cook up more solutions, and quickly forget the failures and so miss the systemic reasons for repeated failure, and repeat…and repeat, so the whole machine can keep on going, always with some new magical solutions to fix the natives/backward/broken/etc. so they can get with the picture and become nice little compliant capitalist tools. It would be very interesting to look at the language of the two discourses.

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          • Lawrence, Daniel, and all

            Just as there is no easy or simply solution (especially in pill form) to solve human beings conflict with their environment, there is also no “one simple word” that will somehow capture the crimes of Biological Psychiatry in these cases.

            “Iatrogenic” is a scientific term (unfortunately not YET widely known) that means “medically induced.” Not all definitions use the meaning “accidental.” I believe we need to keep using this scientific term until people start to grasp its meaning, especially when referring to psychiatric abuse.

            Most of the time “iatrogenic dependency” and the damage it causes is “accidental” when it comes to the particular doctor prescribing the drugs. Should they know better in the broadest sense? Yes!

            BUT these are major SYSTEMIC problems with many institutions (Psychiatry, organized medice, and Big Pharma etc.) who are deliberately putting profit BEFORE the safety and health of the public.

            We do not want to focus so much on individual doctors and take the focus off the toxic and “sick” system that has misinformed and brainwashed most doctors about psychiatric drugs in order to advance their profit and power in our society.


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  10. All I know is alcoholics anonymous has become drugs anonymous because the psychiatric industry funneling everyone into AA.

    Alcohol is different then doing drugs so go to NA.

    Done with AA for a wile after encountering these toxic stalkers after my wallet all the time for their effing dope habit. Our rent and our problems. Help us help us … We are trying to stay sober… F off. Stay away and don’t call me or I will hurt you (again). They got the message.

    Mistake my kindness for weakness, big mistake.

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  11. Okay… Possibly a naive comment that will get me lambasted but here goes…
    Too many words and picking apart of details seems to be going on. I am not saying that debate isn’t important, I am just saying that getting heated up with language games is pointless.
    Lawrence, I have worked in early years for almost three decades as an education provider, and I am a psychotherapist. Your article is ethical, fair and common sense to me. The number of children who are diagnosed with ADHD has risen exponentially. Indeed in any family therapy capacity I have worked in, almost every child is diagnosed and medicated.
    This is clearly lunacy, big business, corrupt, abuse..etc…all part of our societal indoctrination and programming. It is growing as there will be trans-generational patterns where a diagnosis and medication is ‘norm’ and a part of a families acceptable blueprint. I’m surprised that kitchen manufacturers haven’t created a nice lockable pill cabinet as part of every kitchen’s essential fitting, surely there’s an opportunity for greed and financial gain being missed out on?
    Name and label it what ever you like. I have a succinct sentence for the issue.. We medicate before we communicate and it is a great part of humanities downfall as dramatic and simplistic as no doubt that will sound to many.

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    • Bueno

      Good comment. Only we need to stop using the word “medicate” when it comes to describing psychiatric drugs. These are “mind altering drugs,” no different than other substances such as cocaine, pot, or opiates.

      Biological Psychiatry in collusion with Big Pharma has spent hundreds of billions of dollars convincing the public that these chemical substance are “”medicines.” We cannot and should not allow them to get away with this by using their PR type language which only misinforms the public and causes great harm.

      Once again, “language” is a very import part of our struggle to overcome all forms of psychiatric oppression.


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  12. Bueno, no lambasting here–it’s okay–but still…come on. Who’s heated here? Didn’t I explain how this discussion has been personally helpful to me? Don’t movements always need to put some effort into language? What makes a handful of comments puzzling this out pointless? And I do notice that you offer your own catchy phrase at the end. Cooly, of course. 😉

    I think you’re right about it being part of humanities’ downfall. Part. I saw Al Gore’s new movie recently and, as much as I appreciate what he’s done over the years, it was so striking, and disillusioning, to see yet another plodding repetition of data-worship and techno-evangelism. I think it’s a great deal of what gave us Herr Drumpf. And very much related to the idea that we just need to tweak the chemicals in a brain to make it “right.” All of a piece.

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    • Daniel and Richard
      If I am honest and self reflexive, which is important to me, part of my frustration came through regarding discussions in general. Of course movements need to put efforts in regarding language. Of course new ideas and descriptions are born. I really think ‘illification’ is a perfect easily understood non-scientific description. I also have had intimate painful experience of a loved one suffering deeply and permanently due to this toxic system and perhaps or most defiantly that leaves me with my own skewed lens. But I am also privy to loads of ‘groups’ and boards where people discuss and although I am certain that the seeds of change are being planted, as I can almost smell them. I also would love a way of uniting these conversations into practical change. It is my personal need for less talk and more do that filtered out into my comment; and yet the ‘do’ feels so upstream against the tidal waves of pharmaceutical corruption and greed that that frustration fills me along with so many others, with a deep sense of sadness.
      On a positive note I am delighted Daniel you found my phrase ‘catchy’. That said, I think your comment Richard is really valid and it demonstrates to me how easy it is to fall into the pit of terminology that is so commonplace as to appear acceptable. They are as you say dangerous mind altering drugs prescribed in the main to the vulnerable, albeit prescribed with the best of intentions. I am sure that the doctors prescribing them are also in many ways victims of the discourse of their professions.

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      • Yes, absolutely. I also share that tension between talk and action and completely hear you on the importance of the latter. One thing that has helped me over the years with that came early in my graduate work, looking at belief systems, linguistics, and discourse, and someone–Oh, it was Kai Erickson, who’s father was Eric–suggested that talk is in fact a form of action and the distinction not as great as we often think. That’s not at all to argue with the importance of “action” but I find it loosens it up a bit for me, helps me remember that talk actually “does” things in the world. I also hear you on reflexivity, thank you for that reminder.

        Looking forward to more…here…but now I’ve managed to snag three whole days of summer vacation and am off. Be well, all, and really thank you so much for the community and the forum.

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  13. dr lawrence,
    ty for this !
    you are fast becoming one of my favorite writers on MIA!
    i am always trying to explain this when people begin discussing the ” opioid epidemic”. i explain that we must go back to the underlying shift in thought that has occurred these last thirty or so years. problems that used to be just part of life, and solved with the help of friends and family and learned tools have now become diagnoses and disorders and labels and reasons to give children and adults dangerous drugs and not be held responsible for their behaviors. if all children know is, ” it’s not my fault, i’m born this way, i need a pill” of course so many will grow to become true addicts and unproductive members of society!
    keep on truth telling!

    thank you,


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  14. do me a favor.

    don’t let people off the hook of CHOICE. everybody knows exactly what they’re getting into when they use drugs. people get into drugs because they want to party and they want to have fun and because they like going hot and hard (in SIN). people CHOOSE the life of sin because it’s where the good times are at.

    when they get hurt and when they sick and things get serious, and when they need help, well damn. i see a couple of scapegoats. i’m not saying that pharma companies and psychiatry don’t have responsibility but don’t make the mistake of thinking people are innocent victims in turning themselves into junkheads.

    just listen to the music.

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    • for what it’s worth, the trophy comment on that video:

      6 months ago

      there are a lot of musicians and artists who will tell you that their intoxication is what empowered them to create their masterful works. and that’s something to really think about.

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    • Yes, I am a big believer in free will. But the question is, why are nearly three times as many Americans using their free will to use substances as there were in 1990? What has changed in our culture, and in the way children are being brought up? I believe it is America’s acceptance of the biomedical model. Nearly 90% of the world’s amphetamines are prescribed in the U.S., nearly all to little kids and teenagers. If our kids are not being taught any other coping tools besides quick-fix avoidance of feelings/problems with drugs, little is expected of them and they are never disciplined because of their “disability”, and society says “yes” to their getting high from prescribed addictive drugs as teenagers, then haven’t they been led down a path to drug abuse in adulthood? Can you blame them for being brought up this way?

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      • i was 8 years old in 1984 when i learned about cocaine for the first time. i learned about it from other children. they were a group of boys between 10 and 12 years old. one of the kids’ father was a dealer and the kid got hold of the junk. they were hurt from using the drug and it made a very serious impression on me. i’m 41 years old and have never touched the stuff, not once, and i believe it’s because of the terror and horror i witnessed that day.

        but that wasn’t nearly the only drug scene i had been exposed to. i learned about heroin in 1987 when i was 11 years old from a 13 year old girl who was shooting up between her toes.

        the junk spreads because it’s a social choice.

        i never did hard drugs like that but i’m a drug addict – i smoke cigarettes. i smoked my first cigarette when i was 8 years old.

        big pharma and psychiatry absolutely play a role in this nightmare but THE number one factor is that it’s socially commonplace and almost “normal”.

        i abused alcohol in my 20’s for one reason and one reason only: i lowered my standards because i truly believed that everybody drank (at my social level, everybody DID drink). i hated alcohol but it was a social choice.

        pharma & psychiatry have both exploited the human inclination to sin (and the search for quick fixes) in order to advance themselves. they’ve done a disservice to humanity. but even if both of those industries changed their ways and stopped contributing to the problem, the fact is, humanity still has a drug & alcohol culture to contend with it (and that seemingly innate drive to inebriate).

        well, that’s just my perspective from an 8 year old little girl who has ALWAYS known drugs and alcohol (and sex, for that matter, which is the ultimate drug).

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        • I started smoking cigarettes when I was 10!!! When I observe 10 year olds now it can be haunting to think I was led to that by the culture I was born into, but in those days smoking was EVERYWHERE. If you didn’t smoke you were getting second-hand smoke. There were TV ads, and all the ‘cool people’..smoked. So the IMAGE was it is rebellious, hip, cool ..and ‘ohhh the taste’.

          So they haven’t banned it now, what have they done different than before? INFORMATION! There is a more concerted informational drive to encourage people to give up, in the West that is. In ‘developing’ countries the immoral tobacco industry are targeting mostly young people like they did here.

          With alcohol it is the reverse. They promote it, there are no warnings on bottled, and cans (like they are now on cig packets), and yet the drug alcohol can and does great harm to a lot of people. We know banning doesn’t work so why not INFORMATION like with the cigarettes, and more and more with sugar (another shtty toxic drug). Instead young people are encited to consume lots of cheap alcohol.

          What about illegal drugs like heroin? The BBC did a great documentary years ago. Typically they have only shown it once! basically this guy was showing that the problem with heroin is not so much heroin itself (though of course it is physically addictive) but the fact that with it being illegal the street heroin gets mixed will all kinds of impurities and it is this which causes a lot of the disease users get!

          Same is so for Extasy (MDMA) which is a controlled drug. There have been more and more young people dying from just taking so-called MDMA pills at festivals etc, and later it is found they took NOT MDMA but PMA a dangerous amphetamine. Doubly dangerous because the people who think they are taking Es, expect the tablet to work quicker, and then drop another tablet, and get a double doe of PMA (or whatever other toxic mix). So will the UK government allow drug regulating facilities at festivals? Will they hell, they bloodymindedly state that ‘MDMA is illegal and a criminal offense bla bla’ even though they know this is a common thing people will buy Es at festivals. So young people will continue to die!!
          This so-called ‘war on drugs’ is THE main cause of the increase of more and more refined and additive drugs. For example from the diversity of cannabis you could get decades ago to the mono choice of Skunk, and also driving people to dangerous ‘legal highs’ (now illegal and thus black market..sigggh) like Spice.
          People are always going to choose to take substances to change consciousness. ESPECIALLY in a culture which is extremely oppressive!

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        • This is overlooking the fact that ***children*** are still wiring their brains.

          When they grow up with drugs as part of their protocol, like food and water, brushing their teeth, doing their homework, saying their prayers – taking their drugs –

          Then their brains are hardwired to these substances. There becomes less choice.

          What you and I experienced in 70’s & 80’s is a different ballgame now.

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      • Do they really have a choice, especially young people whose parents trust the doctors.? I bet no.

        People die by choice, I don’t find it any different than alcohol addiction. I have no sympathy for addicts nor myself as I put myself in this boat. Not too sound to unscientific or not concerned, but people choose their own path in regard to what they do and don’t do in life.

        “People are always going to choose to take substances to change consciousness. ESPECIALLY in a culture which is extremely oppressive”! I would ask how you define oppressive, race, culture, family life etc.

        Doctor K blames the doctors which seems to be the common root cause. But is it all the doctors fault or a lack of the getting to the truth, which Dr. K has clearly stated in three articles? ? I agree with Dr. K that doctors don’t do enough today to justify their high rate of addictive, prescription drugs. What is the root cause of this problem? Clearly, doctors not willing to put in the work or effort to get to the root cause.

        Today’s doctor’s are no help in this matter as they prescribe addictive pills at will. I choose at will what I drink or don’t drink every day for the most part. It’s my choice and I do what I want based on my stress levels, this again comes down to each and every individual to meet their respective needs. Clearly, this is failure on my part to deal with the stress, long work hours etc. I have to worry about 100+ employee jobs, meeting financial requirements for the quarter and process problems as well.

        If doctors start them from a young age, they have no choice, the doctors have made it for them.I just wonder if they have looked at the results of their work like Dr. K? Bet not.

        I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a safe holiday.

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        • “People choose their own paths.” True. However, what happens once you end up on the wrong path? You might be lost. You might be stuck on the wrong road for a long time and not have any options because your only options are to turn around or to turn off, and what if there are no turnoffs? You can only plough ahead. Or…bushwhack. You might take a very very long time to get back on the right road again. For just about everyone, it isn’t like you snap to it, and then, suddenly, you use the ruby slippers and then, wow, you’re back HOME. Nope, it’s not like that. You try Google maps which often gives you error messages. You ask for help and people either shrug, can’t help, or actually point you in the wrong direction. Are you sick of my pushing the metaphor too far? Well….

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          • Well, once you end up on the wrong path, you, as the individual have to make a choice. Too me, life is all about choices. I believe you have to ask yourself a very simple question and that is, do I want to continue down this path, yes or no? Based on an individual’s strength, will power and desire to change, they can right the ship so to speak, but must be willing to do so. I heard growing up that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink seems to be a perfect fit here.

            Very true in that for some people, their only options are “to turn around or to turn off, and what if there are no turnoffs”. There are always options, but to change requires will power and the desire to change. Some people who have been addicted for life (thanks to doctors), may not want to change or willing to put in the effort to change because of their comfort level. “No turn offs” to me indicates an individual that does not want to change or is unwilling to change because of their comfort level. Everyone has choices in life, some choose to get better, and others stay the course and remain addicted.

            I agree with you in that “You can only plough ahead. Or…bushwhack. You might take a very long time to get back on the right road again”. Nothing is easy in life, but people do have a choice. The question then becomes, how hard are you as the individual willing to work to change your situation? But exactly what is the right road? Is it what society believes or dictates how a person should act and contribute? What makes society right? They pass laws to dictate how we should live and if we don’t follow those rules, there are penalties associated with those laws.

            Clearly, we need rules and laws to regulate our society or we’ll fall into chaos, but I have to question are all those laws just or right? Then, are the people writing and passing the laws right and just or just completing their agenda? I believe as a society, we should vote on these laws or rules before they become “laws”. I have never liked elected officials that supposedly represent “us”. They only represent lobby groups and funding their future (political career) and they are the ones passing these laws and dictating to us, how we should live life. Sounds much like doctors prescribing addictive drugs don’t it? Dr. K is right. He’s a good man.

            “For just about everyone, it isn’t like you snap to it, and then, suddenly, you use the ruby slippers and then, wow, you’re back HOME. Nope, it’s not like that”. Well, isn’t that the truth. Nothing is easy in life and you as the individual have to decide what you want out of life. There are many paths in life, everyone has choices and help if needed; however, personal strength, will power and the desire to change will help you get “back HOME”.

            Never used Google maps, never asked anyone for directions, I guess, I just plough a head. I will check out your radio show, what times do you air?

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        • ‘People die by choice, I don’t find it any different than alcohol addiction. I have no sympathy for addicts nor myself as I put myself in this boat. Not too sound to unscientific or not concerned, but people choose their own path in regard to what they do and don’t do in life.

          “People are always going to choose to take substances to change consciousness. ESPECIALLY in a culture which is extremely oppressive”! I would ask how you define oppressive, race, culture, family life etc. ‘

          Well it is is important to know of oppression, otherwise you are basically a victim of it who is blind as to the causes of your dis-ease.
          A good example is the institution of ‘school’. I found school absolutely traumatizing from first to last, but because I was ignore-ant of its history and purpose, I was led to believe it was my fault. However years later, looking into the ‘education’ system and the culture in general, I now see I was sensitive enough as a kid to understand there was something very wrong with it, and that makes me feel empowered.
          Same is so for young people who get sucked into the military, and terrible things may happen to them physically and psycholgocially. Many are now suffering PTSD, and many veterans kill themselves, so it is a very serious situation. However, when you begin looking at the ‘racket’ of the war industry, etc you then get to understand, and will not join up or let your kids join up, because you have got wise.
          Now let us move onto the advertising industry. They spend millions on secret research as to how to get people thinking they are thinking for themselves so they will buy stuff they don’t need and eat food that is not good for them, and liquids that are not good for them, and smoke and drink, and pollute the environment all life depends on. I say CHOOSE to know. Choose to look behind the scenes at what is going on, and then you will understand oppression over people. Oppression isn’t only overt, but covert too.

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        • MJMS,

          Thank you for your thoughtful comments and for sharing your story. You sound like someone who has gone through and learned a lot. I’d like, though, to suggest something different on addiction and addicts. My feeling, and my read of others’ stories, and m read of some of the emerging scientific work on this, tells me that there’s a lot more than personal choice at play, and especially that addiction stems in large part from isolation and trauma, which of course are very much related–early life (and later) trauma tending to lead people to be isolated.

          Two things I would recommend are the writings of Gabor Mate (and also his talks; a particularly good interview from Democracy Now is: and also accounts of the “Rat Park” experiments. (,

          The rat park experiments are elegant and very telling. If you put a rat in a cage alone he will gobble up heroin and become addicted. If you put him in a larger cage, with an exercise wheel and other rats to play with and snuggle with, he has no interest in heroin. In my experience, this is roughly the same as with people, especially if you consider how alone and isolated people can feel even if they are physically with others.

          To put it differently, addicts will sometimes say that they are routinely in intense physical pain, and heroin is like a big warm hug that takes the pain away. If humans (and rats!) do not get consistent warmth and love as young children, and a certain amount throughout life, addictive tendencies arise as a desperate attempt to not feel empty and in pain. And when it’s intense enough, people lose a lot of their ability to choose. Or so I believe.

          Certainly there is choice in involved. (Well…maybe. There are strong neuroscientific and philosophical arguments that suggest everything we do comes from some combination of genes and conditioning and context. But still, I think it’s true that we all, ultimately, believe and behave as if we have choice.). But, for my part, I have a lot of sympathy for addicts.

          On a more personal note, I have, as things go, fairly modest addictive tendencies. (Which is of itself pretty striking, since my mother had a psychotic break when I was very young, so life was not exactly warm and loving. But I had a babysitter who loved me to death, so I really lucked out.). But in recent years I have had three short episodes, a week or two each, when I was in great pain and started to drink. First a bourbon. Then a couple. Then three or four. I could feel the pull of it strongly, but felt very fortunate, each time, to to get to a point where I saw it for what it is and to know where it might lead and was able to empty the bottle down the drain and stop drinking. (I also feel very fortunate to have had this experience and so to have some understanding of how all this works.)

          During the last episode, two nights in a row, I got as far as the liquor store in my car. It was like a tractor beam. Each time, at the last minute, I did a U-turn and went home. Both times, it was about seeing or feeling connection. Once, I saw that I could actually express the enormous, debilitating anger I was experiencing at being really quite abused, emotionally, by my partner–it was a relationship that, I eventually came to realize, was a playing out of my earliest years, so the triggers were very strong and for several years I could not find a way to leave it. (I veered away from her driveway also; it would have been too much in that moment, and just being in touch with it internally was enough–a form of connection.). The other time, I realized I could call my sister. That was it; there was an opening to connection, and the addictive drive was gone. I also saw, that night, that the relationship was much the same as the alcohol; a great promise of something good and happy, and always a false promise that, after the initial high, leads in exactly the opposite direction.)

          So of course, I made “choices” there, but I also feel I was terribly lucky to have whatever it was that made it possible for me to see those openings at the last second. Maybe it was love I got as a child, that made the addictive drive not fully overwhelming. Maybe it was a nimble brain that allowed me to process the whole thing and see those openings in the midst of great pain. Maybe it was years of therapy and learning about the importance of connection and communication. Maybe it was just something inherent and superior in me, some “will power” that allowed me to choose, but my bet is that was not it. I think I was really really lucky. I wish everyone were so lucky, and I have a lot of sympathy for those who are not so lucky–even though they can be really hard to be around and can push my buttons in any given moment and sometimes make me angry or just want to run away!

          So that’s my take and my experience, for what it’s worth. It’s a wonderful thing to have a place like this to learn and exchange stories.



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  15. I’m not sure that ADHD specifically causes the opoid “epidemic.” It could be one cause.

    I think the way medicine is structured partially causes it. Doctors are reluctant to address the root cause of physical pain.

    For instance, consider this possibility: Say you have a headache. You are more likely to be told to take NSAIDs than to be told the cause of your headache. This especially if you are known to be a complainer. You very well could have mold in your home, or could have a carbon monoxide leak, or lead in your water. They will give you “prescription NSAIDs.” Then they’ll resort to painkillers.

    Then, opoids for your headache. You’re hooked….

    A year later, while you are away at opoid rehab and your kids are in foster care, your landlord is sued by another tenant in your building for dead batteries in the CO detector. Your doctor? He walks free. You are labeled an ADDICT for life.

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  16. As I stated previously, this is not my profession, but I do find the articles written and the responses or comments very interesting. I can’t speak to heroin use or any other addictive mind altering drugs (outside of alcohol) as I would never take them for and now after reading these articles, blogs and comments from professionals and patients alike, I would never consider taking them.

    All I can tell you about my rehab experience for alcohol abuse(four years ago) was that I learned a lot about the legal/illegal drug world during my 6 months of out patient treatment, which I found 100% useless. I went to several AA meetings (for the 12 steps), personally couldn’t stand the sob stories or the faith in religion. Stress(from work), not depression made me drink and got me in trouble to the tune of $10K. I do see a professional, and he is awesome.

    Today’s society has changed, both mom and dad work (this all started back in the 1940’s when men went to war), children now days are raised by day care centers and baby sitters before they go to school and after school. Clearly, family values have changed. I’m sure you’ve all gone out to eat recently, what do you see, a family of four sitting at a table do, all on their smart phones, no family conversation besides ordering their respective meals.

    I asked my wife ten years ago to stop working so she be there for my daughter/son and both are at the top of their class. That’s the way I was raised and I run a $30 million dollar a year manufacturing company with over 100 employees. She has returned to work and the revenue stream is better than it was.

    Technology today is no friend to our younger generations as they have become so incumbent on it and can’t live without it. Children don’t play sports outside anymore and text each other across the room. Example, just take a look at MLB, majority of the players are Latin. I find no offense to this as I believe the best players should play no matter their race and that goes the same way with jobs including gender. Is all the electronic gaming problematic? I personally think it is, again, not my profession, and doctor’s have become to incumbent on issuing addictive drugs to treat those that should be worked with, in other words, have them find the root cause if possible.

    I have a gluten free intolerance (Celiac disease), and if that don’t cause depression, I don’t know what will. The diet sucks, everything you eat you have to check in multiple sources and going out to eat is terrible. You don’t even feel like a real person. The astounding fact is (a) where did this come from and (b) why did it take so long to diagnosis? Never heard of this in the 80’s? Clearly, it existed before the 80’s and no one knew what they were missing besides being nauseous and violently ill. Just another way to get patients to pay more for their doctors, theirs repeated tests and yes, oh yes, the same old boring diet. Just quipping, please don’t mind.

    In retrospect however, it appears too easy for doctors today to prescribe the perfect pill for a minor to treat. Dr. K makes perfect sense in that by 2006, these kids are adults and hooked. Never had these drugs back in the 1970’s when I went through elementary, middle school and my first introduction to a person of color in high school. I never took addictive drugs nor will I today. I will admit that I never did like hippies then nor do now. But that’s a story for a different blog.

    Doctor Kelmenson was correct in that today’s doctors don’t TREAT patients anymore, they merely prescribe addictive medication that saddles the young child throughout life. This creates a windfall for the doctors. I thought Richards posts were very insightful as many of the other wonderful people that posted on MIA.

    Keep pushing and responding everyone, love the posts, the thoughts generated by the posts and the article and all you wonderful people.

    If you want to find something interesting, please look at the average height of males/females from 1940 to today. Steroids are now in most meat and vegetable products and have been since the 1950’s or 60’s and peoples height has increased by how much? I know the answer because I wrote a paper on it while attending Marist for my MBA.

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  17. I would be interested in that paper you wrote on height. Only because I am short and I use my height as a joke when I do public speaking. Why am I short? I found out recently. I have scoliosis. No it doesn’t hurt. It is just there. So my whole family is an inch shorter than we should be. Oh at least. So…that explains it. Go figure. I always wanted to be taller…but it wasn’t in the cards and I’m fine with that.

    I am very happy to be short now that I am older,even though when I was a kid I got teased. No it doesn’t need “fixing.” I am totally convinced that being short is just plain more efficient. it is less expensive in the long haul. I should be charged half price.

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    • Hi Julie,

      I have contacted Marist College to see if they still have it on record. I have changed my computer 3x since I graduated in 2005, as I have no record of it, you know, it’s the love or leave it syndrome, not by fault, just glad too be done. It’s a 50 page paper that I spent three months researching prior to graduation. Hopefully, they will respond, but I must say that you sound quite chipper and clearly, height is not an issue for you. I also believe that shorter people are more efficient. Hope that you have a wonderful holiday weekend.

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      • I”m chipper because I ditched psychiatry and I have FUN every chance I get ratting on them on my radio station and in my blog….

        And we’re having some great guests coming up! Anyone who wants to be a guest on the show and BLAST AWAY PSYCHIATRY is welcome to be my guest. Dr. Kellerman (sp?), you seem to want to chime in with the rest of us, and I find your views fascinating, so you are welcome as a guest my show. Kindly contact me via my blog. Would love to continue the dialogue out loud.

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  18. Dr. Kellerman I specifically want to discuss your “placebo” theory because I believe you were misheard on here. I think your point is so important (and was somewhat missed…) and I hope you will consider coming on the show.

    Julie (and Puzzle, whose 11th birthday is coming up)

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      • Apologies to Dr. K. Due to being lied to about the drugs for years, I stayed on them, thinking they weren’t harming me. Well that’s most likely why I don’t see well now, and why I really had no clue what type K he was. Yes people mess up my last name, too.

        My radio show is on right now not at a regular time, but whenever Blog Talk Radio has slots and whenever I have the time. I try to do radio often. I have a show on Michelle Carter also. It’s fairly lengthy and involved, a response to Breggin’s post that I feel will be helpful to the defense and I hope they find my broadcast.

        I would suggest subscribing so you will be notified of shows. Some shows are pre-recorded and some are call-in (live). So if you subscribe Blog Talk Radio will notify you in your time zone. You can call in using a telephone. We are having guests on, too, and people have been calling in and there’s been a lot of enthusiasm. Here’s the URL:

        Here is the URL to my blog.

        Go to the sidebar and you’ll see my FDA testimony regarding electroshock. The document is rather detailed and involved. Never mind I think it’s most likely an entertaining and enjoyable read, and hits home. I should read excerpts from it on my show.

        Meanwhile I am working on putting back together a show that BTR messed up due to their error. I have to redo it, but that’s okay, I’m having fun.

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  19. Doctor Kelmenson is spot on in his courageous evaluation of the real causes of addiction and consequences stemming from biological misdiagnosis of labeled ADHD and Bi-Polar occurrences. I can speak from first hand experiences as I have lived through it watching the proliferation of Dr. Kelmenson’s theory. It time for effective parenting instead of taking the easy road to relive the guilt of individual shortcomings in their parenting rolls. I believe that if parents examine Dr. Kelmenson’s theory and put it to use it could affect an improved road to one of society’s major downfalls. I’m sure psychiatry pill prescribers would fear the result but I believe it’s time to change what is not helping individuals achieve their potential.

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  20. Dr. K

    I wish I could recall where I found the link, somewhere on this site tho. It was an article by a fellow ‘mental health’ professional, and you stated in the comments something to the effect that forced treatment was sometimes necessary.

    Have you revised your views?

    My brain is still not up to par after a slow taper from long term prescribed Klonopin, but I’m pretty sure I read that comment/sentiment by you somewhere. I’m interested in getting to know you, and your views on forced treatment would be welcome as part of my personal evaluation. I’m sure many of us who populate the MiA site would be interested as well.

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    • Human Being:
      I am completely against forced treatment, and always have been. A big reason why I abandoned working in a psychiatric hospital in 2000, and have not been part of any psychiatric system since then, was to not participate in any way in the horrible practices such as involuntary commitments and forced medicating of people that occur in such institutions. I don’t know which comment you refer to, but I must have said something unclearly that came across the wrong way. Or maybe someone else put a comment after mine that was confused with mine. I am a firm supporter of the people on this website who have been harmed by my field.

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      • I dont think many people realize just HOW oppressive this system -which is trying to impose itself all over the world– is. How deep this o-press-ion goes. So it is no wonder more and more people literally freak out!! These are the people who are human, and can FEEL the insanity of it all!!

        Many are just SO sad. I read that 40 million prescription drugs for SSRIs were writ out in the UK last year. Sad little island people ey?? Oh but wait we’re all supposed be what..? content. happy, with the ‘march of progress’ as nature itself is under attack. THAT is sanity is it? Oh-I-see’

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